Movie Report: Transformers (2007)

Book coverWell, I watched it.

Maybe I had just moved out of the target demo when this film came out–I had my first son, so I was a father, and we were not DINKs (double income, no kids) eager to hang onto our childhoods who were going out to see a property based on toys (which we never owned until we got McDonalds Happy Meal things for our boys promoting these films). I have not seen any of the GI Joe live action films, either, even though I did have (and still have) a number of G.I. Joe films. Maybe I instinctively rebelled against Hollywood trying to make a man named Shia LaBeouf an action hero. But until now, I had not seen one of the live action Transformer films. And now I have.

So. The film retells the story of the Transformers, their war on Cybertron, the destruction, the loss of the AutoSpark in space, and whatnot in the voiceover prologue. The film-film starts out with arctic explorers in the early part of the 20th century who find something in the ice, leading to the leader of the expedition’s eyeglasses becoming the film’s MacGuffin because the location of the AllSpark is imprinted on them, although nobody knows what they found in the ice (nor what the AllSpark is–they did not benefit from the prologue). In the present, robots attack a military base in the middle east to break into the military network. The attack is repelled, but the bad guys find the location of the MacGuffin, so they go to LA to try to get Sam (Shia), a teenaged boy trying to raise money for his first car by selling his grandfather’s artifacts. On a trip to buy his first car, he discovers a beat up Camaro that essentially picks him–it’s Bumblebee, seeking to protect the MacGuffin from the Decepticons who not only want to find the AutoSpark but Megatron, their leader, whom the military has on ice. Bumblebee summons the Autobots to help, and they come and have some robot battles and… finis! Well, except for the six sequels (so far).

The film definitely was built to be a special effects spectacle–look! Giant robots! That transform into cars! But a cartoonish plot, cartoonish situations that make no sense, and shallow characters make it not much more than a cartoon for humans. (Hey, Brian J., haven’t you been watching cartoons lately? Yes, but I’ve not been enjoying them.)

The film also features Megan Fox as a gearhead girl (of course). Normally, I would tuck some pictures of the actress below the fold, but I’m still wavering as to whether I think she’s pretty or not. She’s right up there with Angelina Jolie in the “Kind of hot, sometimes, but weird enough to be off-putting.”

Oh, and I’m probably not going to run right out and gather the other Transformer movies. Even if they’re a dollar or fifty cents each. I have other things I’d rather watch ahead of them, including a set of films about the 1980s year by year and instructional woodshop videos that I mean to get around to sometime.

I should also mention that I watched this with my youngest who will be joining me for plenty of films this quarter as he’s restricted from devices on weeknights. He asked me if this was an old movie, and I guess it’s a fair question: It is, after all, older than he is. And he was also unimpressed even though he is closer to the target demo than I am (or was when it came out) and he had Transformer toys and exposure to the cartoons when he was younger.

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